IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcripts: The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle, 3/21/22

Guests: Rob Lee, Philip Rucker, John Sipher, Melissa Murray, Maksym Borodin, Ruslana, Ola Melzig

Summary

As the Russian war in Ukraine nears the one-month mark, NATO warns of a stalemate and the possibility of Belarus joining the invasion. Russian forces unleash more punishing bombardments on civilian targets in Ukraine. President Biden travels to Europe to meet with NATO allies. The first day of the Senate hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson kicked off.

Transcript

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: THE 11TH HOUR with Stephanie rules starts now.

[23:00:10]

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, Russia unleashes more punishing attacks on civilians in Ukraine. A missile hits a shopping center reducing it to rubble. As NATO warns both sides are at a stalemate.

Mariupol, the city already under siege, rejecting Russia`s demands to surrender. We meet a city council member who escaped the carnage where thousands remain trapped.

Plus, historic Supreme Court confirmation hearings begin for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Her message today on the eve of war history as the 11th Hour gets underway on a Monday night.

Good evening, once again, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. As the Ukraine war enters de 27, the conflict is said to be near a stalemate. That`s according to a NATO official who also tells NBC that Russia`s ally Belarus may soon join the invasion and could allow Russian nuclear weapons within its borders.

A senior defense official at the Pentagon says Russian forces are now stalled and desperate to gain momentum. But new satellite images revealed the devastating impact of the attacks on Ukraine cities and civilians already. The Pentagon says Russia has fired at least 1,100 missiles since the start of the war. NBC`s Richard Engel is on the ground in Kyiv with more.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With Russia`s advanced slowed to what U.S. officials describe as a stalemate, its forces are unleashing more punishing bombardments on civilian targets.

Rescue workers search for survivors after a deadly strike in Kyiv, this time on a shopping mall. More homes were also hit. Kyiv`s mayor says more than 70 buildings have been destroyed, but despite the violence, or more likely because of it.

Ukrainians are still turning out to challenge Russian troops. In Russian occupied Kherson, new images show protesters refusing to back down until Russian troops open fire mostly in the air to disperse the crowds.

Kherson is a Russian speaking City, Russia assumed it would fall easily. The besieged city of Mariupol is getting the worst of the Russian assault. Ukrainian officials today rejected a Russian demand to surrender the city this morning. Even after a maternity hospital was hit and civilian shelters at a theater and an art school were bombed.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

RUHLE: Our thanks to Richard Engel for his continued superb reporting later this week, President Biden travels to Europe to meet with NATO allies. Today, while he spoke on the phone with key European leaders. The Kremlin responded to Biden calling Putin a war criminal saying that comment could end relations between Moscow and Washington.

And as the conflict is about to enter a fifth week, the number of Ukrainians who`ve been forced to leave their homes continues to skyrocket. The UN says some 10 million people are now displaced by the fighting.

NBC`s Cal Perry is once again reporting live for us from the Lviv. Cal, thank you for being there so early, early where you are. I know we`re now almost a month into this war. You have been there this entire time. Describe the situation in Lviv and what are you hearing across the country?

CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, first here in Lviv the situation changing pretty dramatically over the weekend. We were on the air with you Friday night shortly after. And we now know what we heard were these ballistic missiles, these supersonic ballistic missiles going over our heads so everybody in Lviv heard them and now when the air raid sirens go off, and we`ve had five air raid sirens today, people are going to those bunkers now with a purpose. This city is really taking on the shape of a city that`s preparing for further airstrikes.

In the eastern part of the country, let`s start with the city of Mariupol, it is being erased from the map. Civilians there are dying in large numbers. And it`s hard for me to tell you those numbers because we just simply don`t have good visibility into that city.

Civilians that are trying to leave are being targeted and those that remain behind. Again, the indiscriminate shelling there has picked up more than 80 percent of the buildings there completely destroyed.

In the last hour where our college Richard Engel remains in Kyiv, air raid sirens there as well tonight. We understand the bombing there has picked up quite substantially. Last night was a long night there as they again indiscriminately shelled part of these areas. It is happening again tonight.

When we look at the numbers and again, we don`t have a good grasp on civilian casualties. We do know that thousands of Russian soldiers likely are dying that tens of thousands of civilians are dying. We can say pretty straightforwardly that Russia may not be winning this war militarily. It`s important to say nobody is winning this war and the biggest losers in this are the civilians, the 10 million people who have been displaced three and a half million of them heading for foreign countries. Six and a half million internally displaced.

[23:05:00]

And Stephanie, I can`t say this enough is probably an undercount because again these cities in the east are just under a state of siege that we have not seen since World War II. Stephanie.

RUHLE: Cal, I want you to explain this for me because we`re sitting here stateside watching reporting about thousands of children in orphanages who are being displaced. And there`s many people here saying, Why can`t these children be adopted? There are many families in the U.S. that would lovingly take them. Can you explain to our audience the unique setup in Ukraine that`s different in the US -- from the United States?

PERRY: So there are legal obstacles that would prevent that from happening sort of quickly and swiftly. One of the other obstacles is, we don`t know where the parents are for many of these children. In some cases, we know them to be dead. In other cases, we don`t know where the grandparents are the brothers or the sisters.

In Mariupol, for example, we know that a lot of the people who stayed behind are the elderly, the infirm people who cannot leave. And the Red Cross has not been able to get into that city. The same is true for Kharkiv, the Red Cross can`t get in, Doctors Without Borders can`t get in.

So one of the really horrible things that`s happening is there`s quite possibly in that city, any number of children who are alive in these buildings whose parents have died. That`s the reality of war. And that`s what we`re seeing here.

And so when these orphanages fill up, there`s not a lot of information. Where do these kids come from? Where are their parents? What family members are alive? And Stephanie, we`ve seen some children crossing into Poland, into Slovakia without identification with just notes pinned to their chest with phone numbers of relatives who may be alive, or who could be dead. That`s the reality of what`s happening here on the ground.

RUHLE: A lot of these displaced children might not be orphans. They just might not be reunited with their parents just yet. Cal, thank you so much.

PERRY: That`s right.

RUHLE: I appreciate you joining us. I want you to get some rest. With that, let`s bring in our experts this evening. Philip Rucker, a Pulitzer Prize winning deputy national, editor at the Washington Post, Rob Lee, a Russian military expert and former Marine. He`s also a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. And John Sipher, a former senior CIA officer who ran operations in Russia. I told you we`re bringing in the experts and we certainly have tonight.

Rob, I want to turn to you first. We keep hearing this conflict maybe at a stalemate, but that Russia is determined to gain momentum. I said it before the Pentagon says that the Kremlin is still failing to achieve its objectives. Given all of that, where could this conflict go next?

ROB LEE, SENIOR FELLOW AT FOREIGN POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE: So here`s what he`s trying to do is basically about compelling. So it`s trying to kind of force coercively, to try and raise the pressure on Zelenskyy to force him to make some kind of concessions, it`s appeared the initial goal to do kind of regime change that failed because of resistance that Ukraine had in Kyiv and elsewhere. And now it seems about really bad coercive use of force.

And so right now in Mariupol, we`re seeing that I think Russia is trying to take that city, if they do that will provide some momentum also for its forces they can use elsewhere. And then I think that`s the moment that they want to build the use that kind of course, of course elsewhere.

RUHLE: Phil, the President`s leaving for Europe later this week. What are his clear goals here?

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINTONG POST DEPUTY NATIONAL EDITOR: Well, Steph, there are two goals at play here on this trip. First, the president`s going to be going to Brussels to meet with NATO leaders, European leaders, and really rally the allies for the longer term plan to take on Russia both with economic sanctions and with providing military and other assistance to the Ukrainian government.

You can expect to see Biden alongside his counterparts from Germany, the UK, France and other countries, collectively trying to apply pressure on Russia and tighten the squeeze on Putin and his oligarchs in order to continue applying that pressure.

From there, he will have to Poland. He`s going to be meeting in Warsaw with the President Duda of Poland, which has taken in some 2 million Ukrainian refugees, the largest number of humanitarian assistance rather is in Poland. And you can expect to see Biden thanking the Polish people for welcoming in those refugees, but also speaking with the Polish leaders about what the United States what Americans can do to help with this humanitarian and human rights crisis.

RUHLE: John, we need your help here, because the White House has issued another strong warning about the possibility of Russian cyberattacks on our infrastructure, watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: The magnitude of Russia`s cyber capacity is fairly consequential, and it`s coming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RUHLE: John, what do we do with that? What could it look like beyond telling us to brace ourselves. We`ve all changed our passwords from 1234. What do we really do here?

JOHN SIPHER, FORMER SENIOR CIA OFFICER: Well, I think this is interesting, because as we saw in the lead up to the war, and we`ve seen since the administration sort of is using intelligence to tell us what`s coming. And so I think this is a significant comment by the President.

I think there has been, you know, cyberattacks against Ukraine. There`s been some against United States. I think our NSA and our Defense Department and others who are working to protect us and probably done a very good job of cutting some of those off.

[23:10:05]

But, you know, I think this is more towards our banks, or our utilities, these people, people who have to put in place the piping to protect themselves. And I think for a large part they`ve done a good job. But it`s just like the high price of gas. You got to let people know that there`s going to be a price to pay when there`s a war going on. And Putin wants to make it look like it`s against the West and against the United States, not just against Ukraine.

And so, I think we`re just going to have to wait and see what happens here. But we just have to be prepared to see things that that make it a little bit hard on ourselves.

RUHLE: Nobody likes the sound of brace yourself. Rob, I want to share what Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said earlier today about Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT) FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Vladimir Putin is in a very dangerous corner right now. He no longer believes that he can take Kyiv through a conventional military invasion. He is going to move towards a genocidal strategy in which he attacks and kills as many Ukrainian civilians as possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RUHLE: All right, the typical view of Putin is simple. He`s a tyrant. But Rob, I want you to give us a view from 30,000 feet, right, separate the personality, the delusions of grantor from a politics and policy standpoint. Why does Russia believe they should invade and take control of Ukraine?

LEE: So it`s a pretty difficult question to answer. But, you know, I think this invasion was mostly about trying to force a change to Ukraine`s political orientation, right. So even if they couldn`t make Ukraine, you know, friendly, they could make it neutral and not have to be a threat, and it coolly but underpinned this entire mission, this invasion, they thought that it was going to be much easier than that it was going to -- is actually going to be it wouldn`t be that much resistance, they can install someone who be compliant, and work out that way. That hasn`t happened.

And so now, you know, they move on to Plan B, or Plan C, which has been basically using a lot of force for coercive purposes, and it to flick pain. But it isn`t clear what kind of political goal you can achieve with that, right? But how you translate that military force into achieving aims. And we know that Putin had very ambitious brutal goals, which are always difficult to achieve by military force.

So it`s a little bit difficult to see what he`s going to try to achieve this point. But clearly, there`s momentum inertia here is going to keep using force until it gets some effects, some kind of concessions, or until the military simply can`t advance any farther.

RUHLE: John, anti-war activists are said to be launching cyberattacks on Russia, with what they`re calling protestware. Can you explain what that is and what it does?

SIPHER: Well, that`s also not really that surprising, because, you know, we`ve seen companies around the world, we`ve seen governments around the world, we`ve seen NGOs around the world trying to find any way to help here.

And so what`s happening is, you know, private hackers, private groups that are involved here, are trying to find a way to do some damage to sort of chip in and try to hurt Russia here.

Now, what`s unfortunate is, Putin has this sort of paranoia view of the world in the west and assumes that the United States and the CIA and others are controlling all these things, like he does in his country.

So, you know, there`s Russian hackers we`ve seen over the last number of years that are doing ransomware and attacking us. And so I think he`s going to assume that there`s somehow coordinated and choreographed by Washington, when in fact, this is just, you know, groups that have capabilities, trying to take advantage and use this free for all opportunity to see what they can do to damage Russia to try to do their part.

So the, you know, this is not surprising, but I think Putin is going to see this as part and parcel of a Western sort of attack against him.

RUHLE: Phil, there are still plenty of domestic issues Biden has to deal with. How worried is the White House and Democrats overall, about the war and dragging him away from his agenda?

RUCKER: Well, Steph, they`re worried in a couple of fronts, first of all, the economy, and specifically, inflation, those gas prices have been going up for a few months now. The other consumer prices are going up. And that is really damaging Democrats prospects in the midterm elections, you see that in polling, and you just know it from your gut instincts if you are in a political arena.

And so Biden has to be thinking about how to message around inflation and really how he can enact some policies and use these next few months as the president and leadership to try to help the American consumers on that front and then Build Back Better, which is the signature domestic agenda of the administration has all been stalled out.

And so there, you know, clearly the White House is thinking through ways to pass pieces, smaller elements of that legislative package in the months ahead, but unlikely to gain a ton of traction there.

On the plus side, he`s got this Supreme Court nomination that I think you`re going to be talking about later tonight, and it appears that Ketanji Brown Jackson could be headed for confirmation soon.

[23:15:00]

RUHLE: Rob, I saw a tweets that caught my eye. Lieutenant General Russel Honore, a regular son our air sent this tweet out, a warning really where he writes, I`ve observed over the last few days, experts, contributors, basically giving opinions on why the Russian attacks are not successful. Please stop it. You`re telling Russian high command what needs to be fixed.

OK, to my simple I, that sounds crazy. I can`t imagine Vladimir Putin is getting his pointers from you guys. But what do you think about this? Maybe he is?

LEE: Yes, I`m not that concerned about that. I think probably they`re -- they have, you know, the focus on other things, probably not looking at Twitter too much. But, you know, look, they cool we have issues. There`s invasion, so far demonstrate a number of articles in Russian military. I think some of those are capability issues. Some of this is planning. I think that a lot of the officials and officers weren`t really didn`t know about the invasion ahead of time or that much time ahead of time.

And so we`ve seen all these issues, and they`re -- we`re trying to adapt and kind of overcome, and we`ve seen some adaptations, but you know, we`re still seeing issues, associate mistakes. And part of it too, is just, you know, the beginning phases war didn`t go very well for Russia. And that really set the stage for the rest of it has kind of let it drag on this way, and is prevented Russia achieving the goals quickly.

RUHLE: John, take us back a month, six months, a year ago, obviously Putin started this war, it`s not rational. But when you look back, is there anything that would have served NATO`s interests and Ukraine`s interests that we could have done to prevent this?

SIPHER: You know, there`s a lot of things you can go back a lot further than just a year. So, you know, essentially, Vladimir Putin has been at war with the West for at least since 2008. And he announced that. He`s been involved in sort of this game of subversion and sabotage and deception and disinformation against us. He`s tried to influence elections. He`s tried to support violent groups around Europe, all of these types of things. He`s been at war in, in Georgia, and in Ukraine, and Moldova and other places.

And frankly, you know, during that time, we didn`t do enough to prepare. Europe didn`t do enough to get off of Russian oil. We didn`t do enough to support allies like Ukraine, so that they can be prepared to deal with Russia. And we`d ever pushed back effectively against Vladimir Putin so that, you know, he saw a pattern that he could get away with things. He saw weakness in the West. He saw problems with us getting out of Afghanistan. He saw us attacking ourselves in our own cities. He thought this was a time we can take advantage of and he followed the pattern of us not pushing back.

And so, there`s a lot of things that we could have done better and we probably should have done better. And hopefully, we`ll learn from this and so that we stay tight, NATO stays tight and hold our la stay tight after this and actually sanction stay on after this is it rather than just sort of going back to normal. There will be no going back to normal here.

RUHLE: Well, the sanctions are certainly crippling Russia, as we speak. Gentlemen, thank you so much for starting us off this evening, Phil Rucker, Rob Lee, John Sipher. You made us all smarter. Thank you.

Coming up, the other big story today Phil mentioned it the historic Supreme Court confirmations of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, what she might get asked tomorrow.

And later, as frustrated as Russian forces are pummeling civilians. We`re going to explore the healing power of music with an international superstar known as The People`s Artist of Ukraine. THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on a Monday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:22:35]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: If I am confirmed, I commit to you that I will work productively to support and defend the Constitution. And this grand experiment of American democracy that has endured over these past 246 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RUHLE: And tomorrow, it gets serious for President Biden`s historic pick for the Supreme Court. During day one of her Senate confirmation hearing Judge Kenaji Brown Jackson sat through nearly four hours of opening statements that offered some clear hints of what`s to come. If confirmed, Judge Jackson will be the first black woman on the nation`s highest court. And today she tried to go on the offensive ahead of likely GOP attacks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACKSON: I have been a judge for nearly a decade now. And I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously. I decide cases from a neutral posture. I evaluate the facts. And I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RUHLE: So let`s discuss we welcome back Professor Melissa Murray of NYU Law School. She worked as a law clerk for Sonia Sotomayor on the federal bench before her nomination to the Supreme Court. I want to start with your primary takeaway from today`s hearing.

MELISSA MURRAY, NYU LAW PROFESSOR: Well, we had a nominee who was absolutely unflappable in the face of what are a preview of some of the critiques that she`s going to get tomorrow from the GOP. And she just sort of took it and then when she had her opportunity to speak, she made clear what she was about. And that was her faith, her family and her commitment to fidelity to the rule of law.

She offered not a rebuttal, but maybe a pre-buttal giving us a glimpse of what she will say tomorrow, when she made clear that her judicial philosophy is one that is rooted in the rule of law, following precedent and following the Constitution. And all of this, I think, was in response to claims that this is someone who is merely an operative of the radical left. She made quick work of all of that and really acquitted herself nicely this morning.

RUHLE: Well, let`s get more specific on some of the things we`re hearing from Republican senators specifically Josh Hawley.

[23:25:03]

He is pushing a ridiculous smear, accusing Judge Jackson of going too easy when sentencing child pornography cases. It is so egregious his claims that even Fox News had to call him out for it. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDY MCCARTHY, FORMER ASSITANT U.S. ATTORNEY: I think that was very unfortunate on Hawley`s port when you get into the details of what we`re talking about. She`s not talking. He`s not even talking about all sex offenders or the worst sex offenders. He`s talking about people who consume images of child pornography. I think what Hawley has done sis conflate all of the offenses that are under the category of sex offender, and suggest that she`s soft on all of that stuff. And I don`t think the case is there for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RUHLE: That was on Fox News, a former U.S. Attorney calling Hawley out. But here`s the thing. Josh Hawley is not backing down. What he is doing is dangerous. It`s character assassination of a woman who is going to be confirmed. So what is your take on what he`s doing?

MURRAY: My take on this is that it`s not actually about Ketanji Brown Jackson. She is, as you say, a foregone conclusion of say a complete. She will sit on the Supreme Court and Josh Hawley knows that.

What this is, is about 2022, and the midterm elections and 2024. And I think we saw all of the Republicans fall in line on this. Staking out particular claims that she was a woman who was soft on crime, that Democrats are soft on crime, that the Biden administration is soft on crime, and they`re laying a foundation for talking points that can`t be easily refuted about getting into the nitty-gritty of her record and the cases and what has been going on at the granular level in these localities.

They`re simply stout making sound bites that are going to be used in the 2022 midterms and again in 2020, for the presidential election, to basically make the argument that the Republican Party is the party that is hard on crime, that is tough on crime, and the Democrats are soft on crime. She is merely a pawn in a political action that`s going to be laid out over the next couple of months and indeed, the next couple of years.

RUHLE: OK. The former president, current Florida resident, he nominated roughly a dozen judges that the American Bar Association rated not qualified. Now, according to that very same American Bar Association, Judge Ketanji Jackson has the highest possible rating. So help me understand what measure could the Republicans possibly be using that they are perfectly happy with Trump appointees, but not with this Biden pick?

MURRAY: Well, I wouldn`t know what to say to explain their objections to a nominee who has absolutely superlative credentials and qualifications for this role. She`s truly made for this moment. And I think they know that and the objections that we`re going to hear in the next couple of days, I think, will truly be manufactured. They will be thin, but they`re designed again to be less about this confirmation, which is again a foregone conclusion and more about laying a foundation for the political battles that are yet to come.

She`s merely an opportunity to make these arguments about Democrats being soft on crime, about Democrats manufacturing constitutional rights and being soft on the Constitution. It`s not about her. It`s about this larger political fight. And I think the less we play into their narrative, the better it will be because it`s not about her. It`s never been about her because she is absolutely superlative.

RUHLE: Well, we will be watching, thank you so much for joining us this evening. Always good to see you.

MURRAY: Good to see you.

RUHLE: Coming up the stories emerging out of Mariupol horrifying, a city council member from there will join us when the 11th Hour continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:33:28]

RUHLE: In Ukraine`s capital city of Kyiv, many residents have already adapted to living in a war zone. Millions have stayed because they couldn`t or wouldn`t leave their homes. Alex Crawford of Sky News spoke with some of them today.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

ALEX CRAWFORD, SKY NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For those who`ve lived through this all before the war has awful echoes. It`s terrible, terrible, granny says. Her daughter interrupts, children are dying women are dying, she says. This isn`t just war. This is destroying. This is genocide of the people. They`re just killing us to eliminate us. They want to remove us from the surface of the land.

So they see their defense of these northern suburbs as critical and the sounds of Russians nearby seems constant whilst we hear. They`re Nazis, he says. And there`s another attack. He waits to hear if it`s landing close by. He was a swimming coach a few weeks ago. Now everyone here is a bomber.

The man taking us into their bunker was a TV producer. Now part of the army keeping the foreign troops outside the capitol. Will they be able to get inside Kyiv, do you think? No they cannot capture Kyiv, he says. They can try to surround it. But if they try to enter, they`ll face very heavy resistance.

And helping them is Leon from Chichester who came to Kyiv on his motorbike and went straight to the frontline.

[23:35:04]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I fought myself how could I not do something about this? How I cannot go out there and help? Especially seeing the war crimes being committed on civilian populations. I just thought I can`t, can`t sit by and make this happen.

CRAWFORD: He`s standing shoulder to shoulder with Ukrainian volunteers helping out as a medic and now defending Kyiv.

They`ve got mannequins at the entrance of Lootish (ph) to try to confuse any Russian snipers. The residents inside here know this could be a long drawn out and bloody war. Alex Crawford, Sky News in the northern outskirts of Kyiv.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

RUHLE: To the south east in the city of Mariupol, desperate, the city has become it is essentially wiped off the map. Ukrainians there some have refused Russia`s demands that they surrender. NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez has more on that situation tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The two Associated Press journalists who documented the first horrors of the Russian invasion, including the bombing of a maternity ward. The doctors pleaded with us to film families bringing in their own dead and wounded. No one knows what`s going on in our city they said.

In a new harrowing account, they described their escape. The Russians were hunting us. They had a list of names including ours and they were closing in. But Ukrainian soldiers were under orders to find and extract them first. If the Russians catch you one of the soldiers said, they will get you on camera and make you say that everything you filmed is a lie. All your efforts and everything you have done in Mariupol will be in vain.

We also spoke today with Ukraine`s deputy prime minister who says Russian troops are rounding up residents and sending them to so called filtration camps before they`re deported to Russian controlled territories.

IRYNA VERESHCHUK, UKRAINE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (through translator): People are searched they check telephones, documents and personal belongings. They want to know whether this person is pro Ukrainian. This people disappear.

GUTIERREZ: NBC News can`t independently verify that. Russian state television claims evacuees are arriving in Russia willingly.

VERESHCHUK (through translator): That is an absolute lie.

GUTIERREZ: Analysts say Russia has used such tactics before during its wars in Chechnya.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

RUHLE: Let`s welcome Mariupol city council member Maksym Borodin, who is just outside Lviv tonight, thank you so much for joining us. First, help us understand your hometown, your city is basically destroyed. Why is Mariupol so important to the Russians?

MAKSYM BORODIN, MARIUPOL CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Goodness, I think the Mariupol is important for Russians not like the city, not like its citizens, but only for the picture for their propaganda TV. Because for the last days, Mariupol is totally destroyed. They continue to destroy in our metallurgical plants. So most of the buildings damaged and there are no chance that Russians is rebuilders.

They only use Mariupol today to show -- they want to show that they`re liberate so called liberate city, and liberated from fascists but there are no fascists. It`s all only Ukrainians, and most of the people in the cities civilian and most of the people there already killed is civilian, it`s not military.

RUHLE: How hard was it for you to leave Mariupol knowing that there were people still left behind?

BORODIN: For every man and women who go out from Mariupol is very hard to see is a situation where everyday people go out. From one side, they`re happy, they`re not there anymore. But for another side, every people who go out from Mariupol is only can sink in about the people left and how help the people who left.

And today`s every hour is worse than before. So it`s our goal, all civilized world to help Mariupol duplicate (ph) because about three hundreds -- hundreds of thousands of people are stay here. They don`t have food. They don`t have electricity, heat, water and food supply.

So it`s my goal to duplicate city and to get real green corridor from the Russians. So there are no green corridor at this moment. And all the people who go out yesterday or today they do it only for their luck.

[23:40:07]

And part of the people get shelled on the roads to the Zaporizhia. Today is four children was injured on the road to Zaporizhia, and two of them are horribly injured.

RUHLE: So right now do you have any form of communication with the people who are still there? There`s not even journalists there to document any of it.

BORODIN: Some of the people can go to -- go from here, but for the last days run, no connection at all. And we don`t know about most of our friends or neighbors and to the situation. We get information only from the people who can fled out from the Mariupol.

And the information is totally bad. And every, every next people who go -- get out from the (INAUDIBLE) the situation is worse and worse. So on the hope is to duplicate the city was a help of all the civilized world, because I don`t know what to do people which don`t have water and food supply. It`s like genocide. It`s looking like this.

RUHLE: What can you tell us about those residents who have been deported to Russia? What do you know about the situation there? I can`t imagine there are Russian relief workers taking them in.

BORODIN: I don`t know as a real situation. But I know from my sources, that it`s really some of the people from the left side district are taken to the Russia without their will. And I don`t know is still have documents to go out from the Russia. Because we don`t know how really is -- there a no direct connection with these people. And we don`t know what they can do when they get to the Russia.

It`s a really terrible situation, because we all hope that there will be a green corridor and humanitarian help, because a lot of trucks, a lot of buses is been in Berdyans`k, and ready to go to the Mariupol. But the Russians don`t let them go. They said they let go the humanitarian convoy, only if the city surrender.

RUHLE: Do you think you`ll ever be back in your home sitting living there again?

BORODIN: We don`t know when it be. I talked about of my friends who go out from the city and all their thoughts about our city about our prosperous city before the war. It was like typical European city, and for the last eight years, a lot of development, a lot of changes been in the Mariupol.

And it`s really hard to see what`s going on here now. And it`s unbelievable that our home city, it`s totally unbelievable. And thousands of -- hundreds of thousands people now are homeless. And even if war stops, we don`t know how so many people can`t find hope in this situation.

RUHLE: Well, we thank you for joining us tonight. And thank you for sharing your story, Maksym Borodin. Coming up next, from performing on a stage to serving in Ukrainian parliament. When we speak to an activist who`s using music to bring people together during these unimaginably difficult times when the 11th Hour continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:48:30]

RUHLE: We have seen it many times through the devastation in Ukraine, the universal power of music bringing communities together. Moments like this when an unidentified Ukrainian soldier was seen playing Ukraine`s anthem for fellow soldiers. Or when a seven-year-old girl was seen singing Frozen`s Let It Go in a bomb shelter. She went on to sing her country`s national anthem at a charity concert in Poland have her escaping the war torn invasion.

Well, one of my next guests one Eurovision Song Contest in 2004. The first time Ukraine won the competition to her song Wild Dances. She says she is hoping to use the power of music to help in the war effort.

Let`s welcome 2004 Eurovision Song Contest winner Ruslana. She later served in Ukrainian parliament and she`s now an activist. And Ola Melzig, a producer with Eurovision Song Contest now the executive producer of American Song Contest which premiered on NBC tonight.

Ruslana, tell us how music can bring people together because we`ve seen it over the course of the last three weeks. Ukrainians taking to the street performing singing. It`s pretty extraordinary.

RUSLANA, 2204 EUROPEAN SONG CONTEST WINNER: I bring my heart for our conversation. So yes, music help us but we have a lot of, you know, just very, very, very terrible situation in Ukraine. This is a horror in Ukraine, the most dramatic moment. It`s really Armageddon to be able to believe it one has to see its Mariupol, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chiminea (ph), Kherson and many other Ukraine cities have been destroyed in front of our eyes.

[23:50:13]

Life is going out of our cities. It`s going to say the, I would say that the ancient and the modern cities are being vital from face of the earth. Children and the elderly are dying. The landscape of our fertile lands flourishing religious.

During into a Martian (ph) lifeless desert. Once it feels fun, and I suppose (INAUDIBLE), now it`s much more important not to turn the Earth into Mars, and Mars into the earth. Let`s create the mission of humanity. It`s for Ukraine, it`s impossible to stand aside watching the whole nation be sharp, and the prosperous country in the very heart of Europe.

Now we can definitely say in the very center of the civilized world being destroyed in humanity, godlessness at the face of Putin`s war. More than 1,000 ballistic increasingly missiles were fighting by Russian territory -- at Ukrainian territories during the war, more than 122 children died, and hundreds more become orphans, that innocent souls are suffering, unbearable, and anguish, 800 children have already been born in Kyiv`s bomb shelters, they had not yet seen the sun. But from the first days of their lives, they already heard sounds of sirens, or certain millions Ukrainians have left their home, even me.

Putin started (INAUDIBLE) two nuclear blackmail. He occupied the Chernobyl nuclear power station, and the largest in Europe Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and turning it into a military base. He threatens the world with nuclear weapons. We must stop this nuclear terror of the Kremlin leader.

I`m grateful to America, to every American to the President of the United States for your support and help. I appeal you. Now, it`s not the time to care about the price of oil and gas. It cannot be higher than the price of human life. It`s not the time to focus on material goods. They are not that -- they`re -- when the civilization achievement of being in danger, Putin will not stop himself. I know that. He it stopped.

Block his every blank, his every step so that he has no resources, no opportunities. We wage war against Ukraine -- against war and civilization, show that our sky no-fly zone.

Russia army is creating Putin criminal orders that shooting downgrade humanitarian corridors, providing the evacuation of civilians and bring our cities and villages to humanitarian catastrophes.

RUHLE: Ola.

RUSLANA: Each of you can do all of us, but taken together yet. Sorry. Can you hear me? Because --

RUHLE: I hear you. I`m going to -- we`re running -- yes, we`re running out of time. So I want to be sure I get a question into Ola. I know you spent years in Ukraine, talk to us about the history and the culture among the people after the fall of the Soviet Union.

OLA MELZIG, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER AMERICAN SONG CONTEST: I mean, it`s a beautiful country, beautiful people beautiful culture. And they`re not a game of their history. On the contrary, they -- one of -- the first time I went there, I asked about this, like, because I saw a bunch of quite many monuments in Kyiv that I felt like these are -- these Soviet monuments. And they said, Yes. I asked why they still kept them because in the Baltics, they were all gone. And they said, well, it`s a reminder of our history. It`s a reminder of the bad times and it`s a reminder of being happy for the freedom that we have now. And we embrace, you know, like everyone else, it`s just horrible to see what`s happening there. It`s heartbreaking.

RUHLE: And we appreciate your efforts to celebrate Ukraine in song Ruslana and Ola Melzig. Thank you so much. Ola`s show American Song Contest premiered earlier tonight on NBC. You can watch it Monday nights at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up, where there is always time to celebrate love, even during a war when the 11th Hour continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:59:05]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYNSEY ADDARIO, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING PHOTOJOURNALIST: I don`t think I`ve ever seen such incredible civilian mobilization. I haven`t seen a country sort of band together and really just volunteer to fight to donate blood to do whatever they can to help repel the Russians. I think that they people feel very, very, very strongly about maintaining their unity as a country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RUHLE: Extraordinary. The last thing before we go tonight love and war. That was Pulitzer Prize winning photo journalist Lynsey Addario who joined us just a few weeks back. She has been working in Kyiv for the New York Times documenting heartbreaking destruction, but also the spirit and determination of the Ukrainian people.

Yesterday, she captured a beautiful moment between two soldiers, an actual wedding and a military base in Kyiv. Flowers, champagne and smiles all around. As the bride and groom said I do.

[00:00:00]

Senya (ph), the bride seen here in a white sweater. She married her love Roma. He`s the one to her right. They were married by their battalion commander proving that even during war, life, and love, go on.

And on that good note, I wish you a good night from all of our colleagues across the networks of NBC News. Thank you for staying up late. And I will see you at the end of tomorrow.